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Hans Suess Papers
MSS 0199  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Publication Rights

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Hans Suess Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0199
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
    Languages: English
    Physical Description: 29.0 Linear feet (69 archives boxes, 1 card file box and 5 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1875 - 1991 (bulk 1955-1991)
    Abstract: Papers of Hans Suess, an Austrian-born geochemist who pioneered radiocarbon dating techniques and was a founding faculty member of the University of California, San Diego. His papers span the years 1875-1991 and contain grant proposals, conference materials, subject files, photographs, and writings by Suess and others. The collection also contains correspondence with prominent scientists and UC San Diego faculty. Many of the correspondence files and the writings by Suess are in German.
    Creator: Suess, Hans Eduard, 1909-

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1991, 1994.

    Preferred Citation

    Hans Suess Papers, MSS 0199. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Biography

    Hans Eduard Suess was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1909. He was the son of Franz E. Suess, former professor of geology at the University of Vienna, and Olga Frenzl Suess. His grandfather was Eduard Suess, who wrote The Face of the Earth, an early work in geochemistry.
    Suess studied chemistry and physics at the University of Vienna where he received a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1935. He conducted postgraduate research at the Institute of Chemical Technology in Zurich and the First Chemical University Laboratory in Vienna. In 1938, Suess accepted a position at the University of Hamburg. As assistant professor at the Institute for Physical Chemistry in Hamburg, Suess conducted experiments involving the technical production of deuterium. During World War II, he belonged to the group of German scientists assigned to explore the possibilities for utilizing atomic energy. Suess also served as scientific advisor to the heavy water plant in Vemork, Norway, which was destroyed by Allied bombs in 1943. During the war years, Suess became interested in theories of the origins of the elements, and in 1948 and 1949 he worked with Hans Jensen on the nuclear shell model. Suess was co-author with Jensen on a seminal paper on the nuclear shell model. Jensen was later awarded a Nobel Prize for his participation in the development of this model.
    In 1949 Suess received an invitation from Professor Harrison Brown to visit the Institute for Nuclear Studies at the University of Chicago as a research fellow. Suess immigrated to the U.S. in 1950 and spent 18 months in Chicago conducting research in Harold Urey's laboratory. Suess worked as a physical chemist for the U.S. Geological Survey from 1951 to 1955. In 1955, Suess accepted an offer from Roger Revelle to join the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In 1956, Suess established the La Jolla Radiocarbon Laboratory. The findings of this laboratory, which utilized innovative carbon-14 measurements, included important contributions to many fields of modern science.
    Suess was one of the first four professors appointed to the faculty of the University of California, San Diego, upon its inception. He served as professor of geochemistry from 1958 to 1977. His courses included cosmochemistry and radiochemistry. Suess' research has focused on the distribution of carbon-14 and tritium in the oceans, the abundances of the elements, and other problems of cosmochemistry. In 1977, Suess was named professor emeritus by the University of California. While at UC San Diego, Suess also acted as consultant to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
    Among his accomplishments as an experimental scientist, Suess was responsible for developing and improving radiocarbon dating. In addition, he has contributed to solving problems concerning the origin and synthesis of the elements and the evolution of the solar system. One of Suess' major contributions is work that led to the development of the shell model of the atomic nucleus.
    Suess was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1965, the V.M. Goldschmidt Medal in 1974, and the Leonard Medal of the International Meteoritical Society in 1977. He has served many guest professorships at European universities and is a member of several scientific academies, including the National Academy of Science. His bibliography is extensive and notable for its documentation of the development of the carbon-14 dating process.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Hans Suess Papers document the career and achievements of a renowned geochemist. The materials in the collection date from 1875 through 1991. The nineteenth century papers pertain to Suess' father, Franz Eduard Suess, professor of geology at the University of Vienna. The majority of the papers date from 1955 through 1991, when Suess was professor and professor emeritus of geochemistry at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California, San Diego. The papers contain extensive correspondence with international scientists and include a comprehensive collection of Suess' writings, both published and in manuscript form. The collection provides documentation of Suess' activities at UC San Diego and in international scientific organizations. Also present in the collection are materials pertaining to Suess' activities at the University of Hamburg during World War II. Photographs include images of Hans Suess, his family, and other scientists; and of planets, comets, and meteorites.
    Accession processed in 1993
    Arranged in twelve series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) CONFERENCES, 4) CONTRACTS, GRANTS, AND PROPOSALS, 5) NOTES AND DATA, 6) SUBJECT FILES, 7) AWARDS, 8) TEACHING MATERIALS, 9) WRITINGS BY SUESS, 10) WRITINGS BY OTHERS, 11) PHOTOGRAPHS, and 12) PHOTOCOPIED ORIGINALS FROM THE COLLECTION.
    Accession processed in 2011
    Arranged in eight series: 13) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 14) CORRESPONDENCE, 15) UC SAN DIEGO MATERIALS, 16) CONTRACTS, GRANTS, AND PROPOSALS, 17) NOTES AND DATA, 18) TEACHING MATERIALS, 19) WRITINGS BY SUESS, and 20) PHOTOGRAPHS.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Aller, Lawrence H. (Lawrence Hugh), 1913- -- Correspondence
    Anders, Edward, 1926- -- Correspondence
    Arrhenius, Gustaf -- Correspondence
    Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992 -- Correspondence
    Black, Robert Foster, 1918- -- Correspondence
    Brun, Jomar, 1904- -- Correspondence
    Harteck, Paul, 1902- -- Correspondence
    Heisenberg, Werner, 1901-1976 -- Correspondence
    Hubbs, Carl L. (Carl Leavitt), 1894-1979 -- Correspondence
    Jensen, Johannes, 1934- -- Correspondence
    Kamen, Martin David, 1913-2002 -- Correspondence
    Mayer, Maria Goeppert, 1906-1972 -- Correspondence
    Pauling, Linus, 1901-1994 -- Correspondence
    Revelle, Roger, 1909-1991 -- Correspondence
    Sagan, Carl, 1934-1996 -- Correspondence
    Suess, Hans Eduard, 1909- -- Archives
    Szilard, Leo -- Correspondence
    Teller, Edward, 1908-2003 -- Correspondence
    University of California, San Diego. Department of Chemistry. -- Archives
    University of California, San Diego. -- Faculty -- Archives
    University of California, San Diego. -- History -- Archives
    Urey, Harold Clayton, 1893-1981 -- Correspondence
    Geochemists -- Biography
    Manuscripts, German -- California -- San Diego
    Nuclear models
    Photographic prints -- 19th century
    Photographic prints -- 20th century
    Radiocarbon dating
    Science -- 20th century -- Social aspects